10 Bible Contradictions That Aren’t

No matter if you’re Christian, Jewish, Islamic or atheist, we can all agree on one point: the Bible is full of insane tales. Hidden between the ‘thou shalt nots’ and endless passages on who begat whom are stories of giant se x, rather well endowed Egyptians and holy murderous bears. And, just like Star Wars, the awesomeness within the pages of the Bible leads to plenty of continuity errors. Or does it? Turns out the Bible has more internal consistency than people like to give it credit for, even with famous stuff like:

10.Cain’s Wife

The contradiction: After murdering his brother, Cain runs off and shacks up with another woman—despite his mother Eve being the only thing on Earth with human ovaries.

Why it’s not: Remember that scene in Dark Knight Rises when Bane does his prison speech and we catch a glimpse of him in the future, even as he continues speaking? Rather than screaming “how can he be in two places at once?” and blaming it on witchcraft, we understood it was Nolan using non-chronological editing to heighten the emotion of the scene. And guess what? The same thing happens in the Bible.

In Genesis 4:16-17, we hear that Cain went and got a wife. In Genesis 5:4 we hear that Adam lived 800 years and had enough sons and daughters to populate the planet. Because storytelling was different 4,000 years ago, all that’s happened is we’ve heard the whole of Cain’s tale in one go, rather than split up across Genesis, soap opera style. It’s the same storytelling trick that allows us to watch Phantom Menace after Return of the Jedi without becoming confused, only a whole lot less disappointing.

9.God Allows Incest

The contradiction: Faced with a city of homos exuals, God flies into a rage and blows the whole place up.

Faced with his servant Lot having drunken s ex with his daughters, God has no problems with it.

Why it’s not: Because the sodomites tried to ra pe God’s angels, people have used this story as evidence that God firebombed the place because he hates ga y people.

Only the Bible doesn’t say that. Ezekiel 16:49 makes it pretty clear the people of Sodom were killed for being greedy and inhospitable to the poor, as does Amos 4:1-11 and Jeremiah 23:14.

In the original passage, the angels are traveling around ancient Canaan disguised as hobos, taking hospitality where they find it. Now, kindness to strangers and poor people is obviously a big theme in the Bible. So when the holy hobos move on to wealthy Sodom and only local immigrant Lot offers them his hospitality, it says more about the place than any same-se x action ever could. This isn’t just my opinion by the way; plenty of scholars have come to the same conclusion. The contradiction only arises if you come at it from an anti-ga y standpoint

8.Inbreeding

The contradiction: Our whole species is directly descended from Adam and Eve. That means a whole lot of incest, the effects of which should be pretty obvious by now.

Why it’s not: We tend to forget that the Bible was originally written in ancient Hebrew. Thanks to our wildly different language system, this throws up all sorts of quirks in translation. For example, 1 Samuel 20:41 can be translated as either a passage about King David crying, or about him getting an er ection.

In the early chapters of Genesis it gets even more confusing. In Hebrew, ‘Adam’ isn’t just a name—it literally means ‘man’. So the creation story can either be about one man called Adam and his wife Eve, or about the birth of man.

Since Genesis 5:1-2 expl icitly refers to Adam as ‘them’, it makes sense to think of Biblical Adam as an example of synecdoche—a literary technique where a part (one man) is substituted for a whole (the entire human race). So even God himself didn’t intend Genesis to be read literally.

7.Multiple Gods

The contradiction: God totally tells the Israelites he’s the only God. The Bible then proceeds to mention a ton of other Gods.

Why it’s not: Aside from pioneering literary techniques, the Bible’s also crammed with some pretty heretical psychology. For example, Galatians 4:8 and Isaiah 37:19 outright claim most gods were forged in the minds of men, and following their non-existent law made slaves of us all.

Aside from sounding like something Richard Dawkins might say, it reduces guys like Molech and Baal and Dagon to nothing more than the ancient equivalent of those bargain bucket knockoffs of recent blockbusters. But what about the times God refers to himself as multiple people? That’s just the Holy Trinity—the father, son and Holy Spirit that all make up the one big G.

6.Judas Dies Twice

The contradiction: The New Testament claims Judas both hanged himself and exploded after falling over.

Why it’s not: Although Matthew kills him off in 27:5, Luke brings him back for a Con Air in Acts 1:18 by describing him falling and his stomach exploding. Since we usually don’t explode from falling over and Judas was already dangling from a tree, it makes sense to see Luke’s account as a record of what happens when a rotted corpse falls from a great height.

Because he’s tactful, Matthew focuses on the hanging bit. Because he’s Jerusalem’s answer to Eli Roth, Luke plumps for the exploding stomach.